Operation Demoralize the Base has kicked into high gear, with the report that Joe Manchin wants to delay the budget reconciliation bill into 2022 and Kyrsten Sinema won't support Medicare drug price negotiation. What is Sen. Manchin's big-picture strategy? You will search in vain for the answer; perhaps he wants his eventual Republican opponent to run ads about Mr. Manchin's opposition to free community college, paid family leave, and Medicare drug price negotiation, and such ads wouldn't exactly be lies. And what is the basis of Ms. Sinema's opposition to Medicare drug price negotiation? Again, she won't say, so your guess is as good as mine; I suspect both our guesses would be "because she gets big bucks from big pharma corporations." That would mean 90% of the people wanting Medicare drug price negotiation means nothing to her, and if you point that out to her, you might get this reaction.
Hard to believe, Harry, but Facebook was still showing troll farm content to 40% of Americans as late as 2019, which sure leads one to believe that they have never been very emotionally-invested in their vaunted commitment to fix its little fake news problem. "When the content producers that win that system are exploiting communities on our platform rather than building and supporting them," one former Facebook data scientist says, "it becomes clear that the ranking system does not reflect our company values." Facebook cares only about "engagement," never mind if the "engagement" does nothing but diddle your rage gland. They're even putting Rick Scott posts in my newsfeed. They must have high hopes of turning me into an asshole.
Max Chafkin excerpts his book about Peter Thiel, and provides a chilling account of the sociopathic nature of big technology corporations today. "Move fast and break things" sounds cool in certain contexts, I suppose -- sometimes you might be tempted to hope that someone "moves fast and breaks things" in the Democratic Congressional caucus! -- but these clowns move fast and break America. And it's really no comfort that Messrs. Thiel and Zuckerman might one day destroy each other if they destroy all of us in the meantime.
I was surprised to see, in this rundown of Republican candidates' efforts to use the "stolen" 2020 election as a 2022 campaign theme, that notorious Colorado political operative Dick Wadhams -- if you look at his name twice, you know his nickname -- has railed against these absurd theories! They drive independent voters away, he says, and he's right about that. There's some hope for Democrats in 2022, I guess, since they're not going to win their races by doing good works, the way they're going.
Finally, in a related note, Republicans are already running attack ads against Democrats on tax increases. The electorate, by and large, no longer believes Republican BS about taxes -- if they did, they would have rewarded Republican tax-cuts-for-the-rich at the ballot box in 2018! -- but, again, Republican arguments on taxes can still work, if Democrats do nothing for the American people between now and then, which sure looks like the preference of Messrs. Manchin and Sinema, if not the entire party. Why can it work? Because it's an argument. What will the Democrats' argument be? We couldn't stop stepping on our own dicks, but c'mon, our opponents are evil? That has worked exactly once in recent memory, and it worked against a guy who bungled a pandemic response and had 400,000 deaths on his watch; I wouldn't count on making that into a pattern.